Opinion Saturday

OK, guys, your turn. You get to ask the question this week. Is there some family-related question you’ve been puzzling over lately, and wishing for wisdom to handle? Share your question here. The person with the most thought-provoking question will win my Very Interesting Person Award on Tuesday morning. The winner’s question wil be featured here next Saturday for everyone to comment and give their opinion on.

So come on, hit me with your best question!

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  1. Lately I have been watching my nephew who is 9 during the week. I have found that I have a big problem of trying to find a balance between giving him responsibilities and him trying to take over parenting my kids (3 years and 19 months). How do you balance giving the big kids responsibility without them stepping over into the parenting roll?

  2. Are you ever worried that you can’t give each child what they need, emotionally? I have three kids and sometimes I think I am missing the mark with them and what they need emotionally. Am I over thinking it or do you struggle with this having 8 kids~ getting ready to bring home two more?

  3. This may seem trival, but it’s an important question to me. My 4 year old son has just made friends with the kid upstairs, who is six. They get together and plan activites and then come and tell me what their plans are. You know, “So and So is going to come in and play video games,” “So and so is going to come to the library with us”. How do I teach my son to ask me if it okay before telling the other kid his plan/ actvity idea?

  4. One thing I struggle with is doing an activity or schoolwork with one child without sticking one or both of my other two in front of the TV. My two year old is starting to be VERY unreliable with her naps, and she’d becoming more and more reluctant to be strapped into her high chair for an activity. My 7 year old really struggles with playing on his own/amusing himself, and my five year old usually wants to get involved in whatever I’m doing. I’d like to be able to say, make popsicles with my 5 year old (because he likes to cook), or do a reading lesson with him, or play a game with the boys while the toddler does something….. else … I hope this makes sense. It’s the one thing that makes me think maybe I really couldn’t handle a fourth.

  5. We’ve been home for 6 months with our newest additions from Ethiopia, ages 2 & 4. Our big kids are 8, 10, 12.
    I’m really struggling with doing it all. Or I guess, NOT doing it all. I really don’t feel like I was prepared well for the moments of chaos or times when three or four kids need something at once (whether it is discipline based, or a true need, like potty or a snack…).
    Of course it is especially bad when I feel the pressure of making a meal, and I often end up frustrated at my husband (when he is home) for not stepping in & helping (or what I mean by “helping”). I guess I need ideas about what things to let go at those times & how to remain calm.
    I keep thinking I will get better at it & I’ve been praying for wisdom & discretion, but it is still really challenging.

  6. These are such great questions, I’m just gonna sit back and wait for your wisdom to arrive!

  7. With my oldest turning 14, I struggle with the right amount of freedom to give her. It makes sense that as she grows older and shows more maturity, that she gains more freedom to do things on her own. But, I also want to be there to help her make good decisions and to be sure she’s safe. I find that it’s often my fear that stops me from allowing her to do something and not any question about her ability or decision-making skills. How to let them try their wings, but also doing our best to keep them safe is something I’ve been thinking alot about.

  8. Mary,

    When we decided to have children we wanted to space them out 3 1/2 year apart hoping to give each one their own “individualism”, well we recently had baby number two and the oldest is BREAKING my heart with not understanding the situation. I keep telling my husband if we are going to have four of our “own” as well as adopt we are going to birthe all of them NOW as in three in the next year because one I don’t want to be 40 when we have our last child and 2) I am convinced it will be easier (I think that isn’t a joke). We really would like a big family but I am stressed out right now as to how to jugle having kids as well as homeschooling later. I am an EXTREMELY organized person but I don’t know how to get it all done. Any advice?

  9. What is the best way to ensure that your children grow up as friends and not just siblings?

  10. How much should I step in when my 10-year-old daughter has problems with her friendships? Should I allow her to navigate those “mean girl” waters on a long leash, or should I insert myself into those situations every time?

    Why are girls so mean?! And to be completely honest, my daughter has been on both sides of the complicated girl social order. I made a lot of mistakes during my preteen and early teen years, and I am afraid in my crusade to prevent my daughter from experiencing the same thing, I could have cloudy judgment.

  11. I’m struggling with getting my children to understand and work for, not against, our child with a brain injury. You can’t “see” his problems, so they “forget” he isn’t really mean, and don’t adjust for the things that make him go off.
    I also don’t want to make excuses for bad behavior or not hold him accountable because it is caused by an injury, he still has to be accountable for the way he behaves and have self-control.
    Its a big dilima over here.

  12. How do you organize your day (or week) to ensure that each child gets some quality one-on-one Mama Time (and Papa Time)? Is it possible to spend individual time with each child when you have a large family?

    We adopted 2 a year and a half ago, and I’d like to adopt more. This is a question that’s been on my mind a lot, especially when I see people successfully raising larger families.

  13. I have 3 little boys(6, 4, and 2) with a baby girl on the way from Ethiopia. How do I best prepare my boys for getting a new sister? And, how do I prepare them for the questions and looks they will inevitably get because their sister doesn’t look like them? I have talked to my 6 year old about it and asked if he had any questions and he said no. Would it be best to answer questions when they come or try to prepare them ahead of time?

  14. How do you know when adoption of an older child is right for you?

  15. Do extended family questions count??? Here’s what I’ve been puzzling about lately: extended family relationships.

    How should we manage the kids at large family gatherings – do we need to monitor their every move or is it okay to let them run off and play unsupervised for a bit? How do we keep our kids in contact with their cousins who live far away?

    Oh, there are SO many more, but these are all I can think of right now.

  16. With so many children, what is your dinner routine like? Is it peaceful?

  17. My question comes from a paternal view. My pirate is such a “mommy’s boy” (only wants her when she is around), how do you help nurture his independence, his relationship with you, and relieve the pressure off your wife?